HERNDON, Va., March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), America's leading provider of proprietary curriculum and online and blended school programs for students in pre-K through high school today released its 2014 Academic Report providing an open and in-depth assessment of overall academic performance in K12-managed public schools.
Nate Davis, Chairman and CEO of K12 Inc., said that by publishing this Academic Report K12 is continuing its commitment to accountability and transparency.
"By regularly analyzing and openly communicating the results of our efforts and those of the schools' governing boards who employ us, we aim to provide transparency and data on the issues we face as well as progress we've made." said Davis. "All this effort is in the service of putting our students first, making their academic success foremost in everything we do."
In partnership with school districts and independent, nonprofit charter school governing boards, K12 operates full-time online and blended public schools in over 30 states. Last year K12 released its first comprehensive Academic Report and previously published an Academic Performance Trends report in 2012.
K12's 2014 Academic Report includes results from the 2013 state assessments in Reading, English Language Arts, and Mathematics, and examines individual school performance over a three-year period. The report details data on student performance in key subgroup populations, including low-income students (based on free or reduced-price lunch eligibility) and special education.
The report also includes the most recent results from the Scantron Performance Series® assessments, used by K12 to provide a common measure of achievement across K12-managed schools with standards and accountability systems that differ state by state. The Scantron assessments, administered in the fall and spring, are norm-referenced adaptive tests that track gains in Reading and Mathematics during a school year, and allow comparison of each school's performance to the performance of the student population used in norming the tests.
Key findings of K12's 2014 Academic Report include:
- Over the past four years, students in K12-managed schools have generally demonstrated gains very close to or above the Scantron mean norm group gains in both Reading and Mathematics.
- On Scantron assessments, students in K12-managed public schools overall outperformed the mean norm group gain in both Reading and Mathematics.
- In the 2012-2013 school year, on Scantron assessments K12-managed public schools achieved 125 percent norm group gain in Reading across all grades and 102 percent norm group gain in Mathematics across all grades.
- Persistence makes a difference. Data confirm that students perform better on state proficiency tests the longer they stay with the K12 program. Students enrolled three or more years in K12-managed public schools achieve higher percentages at or above proficiency compared to students enrolled less than one year: 17 percent higher in Reading, 22 percent higher in English Language Arts, and 11 percent higher in Mathematics.
- In K12-managed public schools, as in most public schools, lower income students – those eligible for free or reduced-price lunch – do not perform as well as students not eligible for federal meal subsidies.
- Compared to most public schools, K12-managed public schools serve a significantly higher percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch: 63 percent in K12-managed schools compared with a national average of 49 percent.
- K12-managed public schools in a sample of eight states, which includes some of the largest schools, served a higher percentage of special education students compared to the percentage of special education students in the total school population in each state.
- State-adopted academic growth measures at two of K12's largest managed public schools – Agora Cyber Charter School (PA) and Ohio Virtual Academy – show these schools are making improvement in most grades even as these schools continue to show rapid growth in enrollment with an increasing number of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and an increasingly mobile student population.
K12's Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Margaret Jorgensen, said, "While we are seeing improvement in many of the schools K12 serves, it is clear we need to make greater progress toward higher levels of proficiency for all students. That being said, the results of the Scantron tests and many of the state-adopted growth measure assessments show a more positive picture on student learning."
Dr. Jorgensen added, "Nevertheless, our unwavering commitment is to raise achievement for all students and help them reach their academic goals, regardless of background, socioeconomic situation, or academic history. This report helps focus our efforts by showing us where we are succeeding and where we need to improve."
The K12 report highlights many new programs employed at K12-managed public schools to strengthen student engagement and drive academic success, including innovative blended learning models, a "Strong Start" initiative for new students, family academic support teams, increased teacher-led advisory sessions, college and career workshops, and additional remedial programs in the critical subjects of reading and math.
"As we address the challenges of an increasing population of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, we will continue to adapt and innovate to meet the needs of students enrolling in K12-managed public schools," said Dr. Jorgensen. "We are exploring new digital solutions to enhance individualized learning for students and data-driven decision making for teachers. Moving forward, we will continue to monitor our efforts, collect and analyze data, and replicate successful practices across the schools we serve."
In response to a growing number of academically at-risk and credit-deficient students choosing online schools, K12 continues to launch new Insight Schools designed to serve the needs of students who were falling behind or failing in traditional schools. The programs offered at Insight Schools provide targeted solutions and wrap-around services to help at-risk students increase their level of engagement and earn credits needed to graduate. K12 is also launching a number of new initiatives designed to support teachers with more training, professional development and instructional tools.
"We have a tremendous group of talented teachers and school leaders at K12," said Dr. Jorgensen. "We are a company of educators. More than 70 percent of K12 Inc.'s employees and teachers in K12-managed public schools come to us with an education background. As educators, we take our responsibilities to the schools, students, and families we serve very seriously, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help them succeed."
The K12 report highlights the critical role of the highly qualified, state-certified teachers in K12-managed schools. Nearly 6,000 teachers are employed in K12-managed schools across the U.S. – the nation's largest network of online school teachers in kindergarten through high school.
Davis, who was recently named K12's CEO in addition to his role as Chairman of the Board, has steered the organization towards increased accountability while advancing a progressive plan to improve and refine K12's instructional models, curricula, and technology systems to drive higher performance. He outlined these initiatives today at K12's second annual Academic Day held at the company's Virginia-based headquarters.
Emphasizing K12's mission-driven culture, Davis affirmed that the education company's focus is "on putting students first and supporting our teachers and school leadership, improving the quality of our curriculum and assessments, and accelerating the innovative use of technology to deliver engaging and effective learning experiences for each student."
Davis concluded, "We succeed only when students succeed. That is our goal. That is our passion. That is our work."
About K12 Inc.
K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), a company of educators, is the nation's leading provider of proprietary curriculum and online and blended school solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school. K12 has worked with over 2,000 school districts and has delivered more than four million courses over the past decade. K12 provides curricula, academic services, and learning solutions to public schools and districts, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and families. The K12 program is offered through K12 partner public schools in approximately two-thirds of the states and the District of Columbia, and through private schools serving students in all 50 states and more than 100 countries. More information can be found at www.K12.com.
K12's 2014 Academic Report: http://www.k12.com/Academic-Report-2014
SOURCE K12 Inc.